A developer new to commercial properties has just scooped one up on the North Shore, and as he has with one residential property already, will factor in some personal philosophies once it comes time to build.
The North Shore building that houses Hatsuki Sushi and the Stage House Theatre has been sold to Miles Pruden, a community-minded developer who has plans to rebuild at the corner of Tranquille Road and Aspen Street.
Prior to the redevelopment, which won’t take place until Hatsuki Sushi’s lease is up in about five years, Pruden has planned some improvements for the current tenants — something Kamloops Players treasurer and director Sharon Huuha is looking forward to.
“Our ceiling fell in. It would rain and we’d have to hold an umbrella. There’s been zip put into that building,” she said.
Pruden said the work will be nothing major, since there are plans to eventually tear the building down.
“But we do want to make sure it’s functioning well enough to be used dependably for its current use,” he said.
The Kamloops Players Society has rented the Stage House for about seven years. It presents plays of its own and rents the space to other theatre groups, such as Chimera Theatre, for “very nominal rent” as part of its mandate.
Even knowing the chaos a venue’s downtime can have in Kamloops, as seen with Sagebrush Theatre’s continued closure, Huuha said she’s not too worried about the disruptions the renovations will bring.
“We’ll try to be creative around that. It’s not a huge renovation and he [Pruden] said we will have a ton of notice,” she said.
For now, Pruden’s plan involves keeping a restaurant and theatre on the ground floor of the redeveloped building, but beyond that, his lips are sealed.
The commercial development would be Pruden’s first. He completed the purchase with the help of a small group of investors on Friday, May 31.
In the past, he’s worked with another recent acquisition, Nexbuild Construction, a company under which he constructed a four-plex residential building at the corner of Larch Avenue and Schubert Drive.
Pruden’s target for the building was to achieve net zero in terms of energy, and although he missed that target, he said his electricity bills range from $40 to $450 each year, with no gas bills.
The energy cost savings come from photovoltaic solar panels and a heat collection method built into the building to store passive energy.
“There’s room to improve and it was a bit of an experiment, so we’ll keep tweaking,” he said.
Pruden’s residential development is based on certain philosophies.
“I’m really into making not just housing sustainable and net-zero energy and that sort of thing, but also increasing density in a way that’s palatable for people,” he said.
The budding developer has lived in Kamloops all his life and grew up in the Lac du Bois grasslands. From 1995 to 2006, he ran Armageddon Paintball.
After that venture, he had the idea to build affordable net zero homes and spent 10 years saving money and working on designs until he could afford to build.
It’s a process that has revealed to him the effects of income inequality.
“You see people who can’t afford homes. I was a landlord. It’s really easy to make money when you own land, but it’s really hard to get going until you do. So as housing gets expensive, we’re putting ourselves in a society of haves and have-nots, and I think that’s very unhealthy for democracy.
“The built environment affects so much — who can afford houses, how they live, how they interact with each other and how healthy they are. I think there’s a lot of problems that can be solved by building smarter, and I like solving puzzles, so I thought I would give it a shot.” he said.